Meditation Techniques for Martial Artists
The Benefits of Meditation for Martial Arts Training
In the martial arts, breathing, reflection, and meditation are often incorporated into karate practice. Even though martial artists are devoted to their studies, not everyone warms up to meditation.
If you haven’t really caught onto meditation yet and are studying martial arts, you may want to consider taking your meditation as a serious part of your training. The study of martial arts, after all, is much more than just learning how to punch, kick, and block. Studying all the physical moves are useless if you don’t maintain a clear mind to execute them at the times you need them the most – when you have to protect yourself.
Meditating will help your martial arts training reach the next level.
Martial Arts and Meditation
The actions of breathing with intention and using visualizations to direct the body’s energies to achieve a state of relaxation and even improve overall health and well-being have been used for thousands of years. Many branches of religious, spiritual, and martial arts sects have used meditation to calm the mind, be closer to spiritual entities, and even for self-discovery. There are probably enough meditation techniques to fill entire libraries on their own.
In the martial arts specifically, certain katas and exercises are considered moving meditations. For instance, in Tai Chi, the soft form is considered a moving meditation. In Mew Hing’s 18 Daoist Palms System (Dim Mak), moving meditations are an integral part of the system. I have been studying these systems for years, and I do enjoy the benefits of moving meditations. They invigorate and relax the body and mind, and are great for those antsy, can’t sit still types of personalities.
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years.
This technique I learned in my Kempo karate class. It’s simple, yet effective.
- Stand in a horse stance knees bent but not too stiff, then close your eyes and extend your arms out in front of you.
- As you bring your arms closer to your body, visualize inhaling the most beautiful blue color you have ever seen. Hold you breath for a count of 3, and then with your arms at your chest push your arms away from you and exhale the most intense red color you can image. In with the blue and out with the red.
- Do this 10 times and you are ready to start the Qigong meditation below.
Beginner’s Qi Gong Relaxation Exercise
In my studies in the martial arts, I came upon Qigong. One could spend a lifetime studying these concepts and never tire of the subject.
There is an unseen life force running throughout the entire body called qi. During the Shang (1766-1123 B.C.) and Zhou (1122-249 B.C.) Dynasties, Dr. Wang Wei-Yi, an acupuncturist, mapped out the energy paths of the human body called meridians. During the time of the Yellow Emperor, the oldest Chinese medical text in existence was assembled and offered concepts and methods for qigong training. From there, the concepts of QiGong were incorporated in Buddhist and Daoist spiritual training and martial arts applications.
I have elected to share this meditation technique from the medical QiGong course of study because not only will it relax you, but also open up energy pathways that could be blocking aspects of your mental game and your success in the ring. This is a big factor in developing the ability to focus and take your mental game to the next level. With a calm mind your body will respond to your training quicker and with conviction.
Through years of practicing this with my clients, I developed this version as an introduction for my clients who are skiddish about the meditative process. It is very easy to visualize and follow.
Standing with your arms at your sides, you will be relaxing key meridian points on your body from your head down to your toes. Visualize relaxing all the muscles in the following body points, taking care to move slowly and comfortably, and to move from point to point in the order you see here.
Take a ball of golden-white light, and go from:
- Top of the head, to
- The forehead, to
- Your solar plexus, to
- The point just below your bellybutton, to
- The point just below your knee on the right side, to
- Your right ankle area, to
- All of your toes on the right foot, one at a time.
- Move to the ball of your right foot and relax it.
- Then relax the ball of your left foot.
- Relax all of your toes on your left foot, one at a time.
- From there we move up the inside of your left leg to just below your knee, to
- Your buttocks muscles and relax them. From there, move back to
- The naval area.
- Then finish up with the last point, relaxing the center of both palms.
- Once you have relaxed all these points on your body, imagine you are standing with each foot in a small puddle of water.
- Once again, perform the blue-red breathing technique 3 times, but you are going inhale your wonderful blue breath and hold for a count of 5, before you exhale all the red out of your body.
Meditation can help you find "the way."
Practice Different Forms of Meditation
When you have completed this meditation your mind and body will be calm your mental focus will be sharp.
Using the power of meditation, you have the ability to clear away distracting, nonfocused energy to ramp up your mental game and your performance. Whether it’s just practicing the meditative breathing or using a more complex exercise, you will feel a difference in your martial arts training while meditating regularly.
- Meditation techniques can be as simple as breathing.
- You can incorporate movement in your meditations.
- Meditation can help your visualization skills.
- Qigong has some powerful visualization exercises to help clear your meridian paths.
What Have Your Results Been with Meditation?
Have you noticed a big difference in your martial arts training and performance since you started meditating?